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April 3rd, 2013

Let’s start telling complete and accurate stories on film

Lillie Howard

I found myself with mixed emotions upon reading "How Django Renewed My Faith in America" by Frank Rich on the cover of a recent New York magazine, and also upon reading quotes from actor Harrison Ford regarding the upcoming film about the life of famed baseball player Jackie Robinson.

Mr. Ford stated that the use of the N-word in the movie was historically accurate, redeeming the period of time. He said that you can’t make a movie about applesauce without mentioning apples, concluding that the Jackie Robinson story could not be told accurately without using the N-word because the story focuses on the racism that Robinson faced.

I find it to be quite hypocritical that only some truths are revealed in these types of movies while the most horrifying truths tend to be hidden. Here’s one that definitely should be told!

There is a video, "Black Wall Street: The True Story" that I feel should be turned into a movie or a television series like "Roots" was, for it will reveal the depth of racism in this country. We heard a lot about the attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, which at that time was listed as the most tragic bombing ever to take place on United States soil. But that was wrong because on June 1, 1921 one of the worst incidents of violence ever visited upon people of African descent happened. This was when "Black Wall Street" - the name fittingly given to one of the most affluent all-Black communities in America - was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by a mob envious whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a thriving district of 36 Black businesses in northern Tulsa lay smoldering. A model community destroyed, and a major African American economic movement was resoundingly defused. The carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead, and over 600 successful businesses were lost. Among these were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores, two movie theaters, a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half dozen private airplanes and a bus system.

As could have been expected, the impetus behind it all was the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in consort with ranking city officials and other sympathizers. In their self-published book, "Black Wall Street: A Lost Dream" and its companion video documentary, "Black Wall Street: A Black Holocaust in America", the authors have chronicled, for the very first time in the words of area historians and elderly survivors, what really happened and why on that fateful summer day in 1921. Wallace similarly explains why the effects of this bloody event from the turn of the century are still being felt in predominantly Black neighborhoods even to this day.

Black Wall Street was a prime example of the typical Black community in America that did business, but it was an unusual location. You see, at the time Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state. There were over 28 Black townships there. One third of the people who traveled on the terrifying "Trail of Tears" alongside the Native Americans between 1830 to 1842 were Black. The citizens of this proposed Indian and Black state had a black governor, a treasurer from Kansas named McDale. But the Ku Klux Klan said that if he assumed office that they would kill him within 48 hours.

Because of space limitations I must stop now, but hopefully you, my readers, will start doing some research on this valuable information. It’s very important to know what happened in the past so that it won’t be repeated in the present.

Truthfully, our people had it better back then because their communities weren’t plagued with and devastated by drugs as ours are now. Drugs were and still are the weapons of mass destruction that have and still are being wielded against our communities. Similarly, prisons are the new plantations, for the masses of those incarcerated are people of color. The Ku Klux Klan have put on new uniforms and they no longer hide their faces.

Once again I must say that this country is headed towards self destruction because a house divided definitely cannot and will not stand. Racism is the driving force that is destroying this country and the real sad part about this is that no one wants to have a serious discussion about it. Silence means agreement.

Seriously think about this! This is Lillie’s Point of View!

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